An example of a SPECT CT machine that the East Kootenay Foundation for Health is striving to purchase for the East Kootenay Regional Hospital.

Health Foundation hits $1 million mark of $1.2 million fundraiser

The East Kootenay Foundation for Health has $200K more to go to purchase SPECT CT machine

The East Kootenay Foundation For Health (EKFH) has reached the $1 million mark of their $1.2 million target needed to purchase a SPECT CT for the East Kootenay Regional Hospital.

What makes this amount raised even more astounding is the fact they reached the this milestone way ahead of when they had anticipated they would.

“It’s been unbelievably awesome,” said EKFH executive director Brenna Baker.The communities around the East Kootenay have really stepped up. When we set this goal of the $1.2 million we were kicking it off on the 28th of September and we thought it would take about 18 months to raise the money and we reached the $1 million mark within three and a half months, so it’s been crazy.”

READ MORE: Health Foundation’s Starlite campaign underway

With this incredible progress thus far, Baker hopes they can raise the remaining $200,000 by the end of March.

“Then we can get on with purchasing this important piece of equipment, because we are the only regional hospital in the province of British Columbia that does not have a SPEC CT.”

A SPECT CT combines the 3D functional imaging of nuclear medicine with the anatomical accuracy of a CT.

Many medical conditions can be assessed by SPECT CT including but not limited to: staging and monitoring treatment in multiple forms of cancer; determining the extent of infection and monitoring therapy, and site-specific processes such as lung clots, kidney function, heart disease and bone fractures.

The SPECT CT will provide faster, more definitive diagnosis of medical conditions. For patients, it will reduce the anxiety of waiting for a full diagnosis and the commencement of treatment, reducing time, money, travel expenses and stress.

“The sooner that we can purchase it the more lives it’s going to affect, and better treatment plans for patients, so it’s really important,” Baker said. “I am hoping that we’ll be able to get some donors step up to fill that little bit of a gap that we have left. We’re just looking for whoever is willing to donate or if people have grants that maybe I don’t know about if they want to share them with me then I can certainly apply for them.”

Baker acknowledged several key supporters of the fundraiser so far. The Kimberley Health Auxiliary has raised over $100,000, $75,000 of which to the SPECT CT and $25,000 for another piece of equipment in Kimberley. The Invermere Health Auxiliary provided $50,000 in December. Rocky Mountain Collision did a match program over Christmas, matching donations up to $10,000 which was raised within the first day of giving.

Tri-Kon also donated $10,000 as did the Cranbrook Legion. The Lions Clubs all around the region have also been supportive of the campaign.

READ MORE: Cranbrook Legion gives $10K to Health Foundation

“It’s just a really important piece of equipment for everyone in the East Kootenay region,” Baker said. “So it’s going to save traveling time and wait times and it’s going to save stress and anxieties, it’s a huge benefit to everybody”

Once the grand total is met there are still some renovations that need to be done to the existing room in the hospital where the machine will be installed. Because it is nuclear medicine upgrades to the walls and floor are likely needed, which could take up to three months Baker said, though she added she doesn’t have the exact timeline.

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